Showing posts with label data mining. Show all posts
Showing posts with label data mining. Show all posts

Friday, 20 July 2018

Slowly but surely Russian connections between the UK Brexit referendum campaign and the US presidential campaign are beginning to emerge


“We have concluded that there are risks in relation to the processing of personal data by many political parties. Particular concerns include: the purchasing of marketing lists and lifestyle information from data brokers without sufficient due diligence, a lack of fair processing, and use of third party data analytics companies with insufficient checks around consent….We have looked closely at the role of those who buy and sell personal data-sets in the UK. Our existing investigation of the privacy issues raised by their work has been expanded to include their activities in political processes….The investigation has identified a total of 172 organisations of interest that required engagement, of which around 30 organisations have formed the main focus of our enquiries, including political parties, data analytics companies and major social media platforms…..Similarly, we have identified a total of 285 individuals relating to our investigation.” [UK Information Commissioner’s Office, Investigation into the use of data analytics in political campaigns: Investigation update, July 2018]

Slowly but surely the Russian connections between the UK Brexit referendum campaign and the US presidential campaign are beginning to emerge.

The Guardian, 15 July 2018:

A source familiar with the FBI investigation revealed that the commissioner and her deputy spent last week with law enforcement agencies in the US including the FBI. And Denham’s deputy, James Dipple-Johnstone, confirmed to the Observer that “some of the systems linked to the investigation were accessed from IP addresses that resolve to Russia and other areas of the CIS [Commonwealth of Independent States]”.

It was also reported that Senator Mark Warner, vice chair of US Senate Intel Committee and Damian Collins MP, chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee inquiry into “fake news”, met in Washington on or about 16 July 2018 to discuss Russian interference in both British and American democratic processes during an Atlantic Council meeting.

UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), media release, 10 July 2018:

Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham has today published a detailed update of her office’s investigation into the use of data analytics in political campaigns.
In March 2017, the ICO began looking into whether personal data had been misused by campaigns on both sides of the referendum on membership of the EU.

In May it launched an investigation that included political parties, data analytics companies and major social media platforms.

Today’s progress report gives details of some of the organisations and individuals under investigation, as well as enforcement actions so far.

This includes the ICO’s intention to fine Facebook a maximum £500,000 for two breaches of the Data Protection Act 1998.

Facebook, with Cambridge Analytica, has been the focus of the investigation since February when evidence emerged that an app had been used to harvest the data of 50 million Facebook users across the world. This is now estimated at 87 million.
The ICO’s investigation concluded that Facebook contravened the law by failing to safeguard people’s information. It also found that the company failed to be transparent about how people’s data was harvested by others.
Facebook has a chance to respond to the Commissioner’s Notice of Intent, after which a final decision will be made.

Other regulatory action set out in the report comprises:

warning letters to 11 political parties and notices compelling them to agree to audits of their data protection practices;

an Enforcement Notice for SCL Elections Ltd to compel it to deal properly with a subject access request from Professor David Carroll;

a criminal prosecution for SCL Elections Ltd for failing to properly deal with the ICO’s Enforcement Notice;

an Enforcement Notice for Aggregate IQ to stop processing retained data belonging to UK citizens;

a Notice of Intent to take regulatory action against data broker Emma’s Diary (Lifecycle Marketing (Mother and Baby) Ltd); and
audits of the main credit reference companies and Cambridge University Psychometric Centre.

Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham said:
“We are at a crossroads. Trust and confidence in the integrity of our democratic processes risk being disrupted because the average voter has little idea of what is going on behind the scenes.

“New technologies that use data analytics to micro-target people give campaign groups the ability to connect with individual voters. But this cannot be at the expense of transparency, fairness and compliance with the law.

She added:
“Fines and prosecutions punish the bad actors, but my real goal is to effect change and restore trust and confidence in our democratic system.”

A second, partner report, titled Democracy Disrupted? Personal information and political influence, sets out findings and recommendations arising out of the 14-month investigation.

Among the ten recommendations is a call for the Government to introduce a statutory Code of Practice for the use of personal data in political campaigns.

Ms Denham has also called for an ethical pause to allow Government, Parliament, regulators, political parties, online platforms and the public to reflect on their responsibilities in the era of big data before there is a greater expansion in the use of new technologies.

She said:
“People cannot have control over their own data if they don’t know or understand how it is being used. That’s why greater and genuine transparency about the use of data analytics is vital.”

In addition, the ICO commissioned research from the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media at the independent thinktank DEMOS. Its report, also published today, examines current and emerging trends in how data is used in political campaigns, how use of technology is changing and how it may evolve in the next two to five years. 

The investigation, one of the largest of its kind by a Data Protection Authority, remains ongoing. The 40-strong investigation team is pursuing active lines of enquiry and reviewing a considerable amount of material retrieved from servers and equipment.

The interim progress report has been produced to inform the work of the DCMS’s Select Committee into Fake News.

The next phase of the ICO’s work is expected to be concluded by the end of October 2018.

The Washington Post, 28 June 2018:

BRISTOL, England — On Aug. 19, 2016, Arron Banks, a wealthy British businessman, sat down at the palatial residence of the Russian ambassador to London for a lunch of wild halibut and Belevskaya pastila apple sweets accompanied by Russian white wine.

Banks had just scored a huge win. From relative obscurity, he had become the largest political donor in British history by pouring millions into Brexit, the campaign to disentangle the United Kingdom from the European Union that had earned a jaw-dropping victory at the polls two months earlier.

Now he had something else that bolstered his standing as he sat down with his new Russian friend, Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko: his team’s deepening ties to Donald Trump’s insurgent presidential bid in the United States. A major Brexit supporter, Stephen K. Bannon, had just been installed as chief executive of Trump’s campaign. And Banks and his fellow Brexiteers had been invited to attend a fundraiser with Trump in Mississippi.

Less than a week after the meeting with the Russian envoy, Banks and firebrand Brexit politician Nigel Farage — by then a cult hero among some anti-establishment Trump supporters — were huddling privately with the Republican nominee in Jackson, Miss., where Farage wowed a foot-stomping crowd at a Trump rally.
Banks’s journey from a lavish meal with a Russian diplomat in London to the raucous heart of Trump country was part of an unusual intercontinental charm offensive by the wealthy British donor and his associates, a hard-partying lot who dubbed themselves the “Bad Boys of Brexit.” Their efforts to simultaneously cultivate ties to Russian officials and Trump’s campaign have captured the interest of investigators in the United Kingdom and the United States, including special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.

Vice News, 11 June 2018:

Yakovenko is already on the radar of special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election, after he was named in the indictment of ex-Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos….

Banks, along with close friend and former Ukip leader Nigel Farage, was among the very first overseas political figures to meet Trump after his surprise victory in November 2016.

It also emerged over the weekend that Banks passed contact information for Trump’s transition team to the Russians.

Sunday, 1 July 2018

Oi! Malcolm Bligh Turnbull and every dumb-witted member of his federal government as well as every premier and member of a state or territory government – when are you all going to wake up to the fact that digital is bloody dangerous?


For literally hundreds of years now, first in colonial, then in dominion and later in federation periods, Australia has relied on a 'paper and ink' processes to decide major political votes by its eligible citizens.

By and large this system has produced reliable results with regards to the people's will.

However, in the 21st Century government's blind infatuation with digital 'innovation' is now dangerously out-of-control.

This is evidence of just the latest red flag that Australian governments have ignored ……

The Mercury online, 30 June 2018:

The personal information of about 4000 Tasmanian voters has been leaked after a data breach on a third-party website linked to express votes, the state’s Electoral Commission has revealed.

Tasmanian Electoral Commissioner Andrew Hawkey said hackers had access to the names, dates of birth, emails and postal addresses of those who applied for an express vote at the recent state and Legislative Council elections.

“Early today, the Tasmanian Electoral Commission was informed by the Barcelona-based company Typeform, that an unknown third party had gained access to one of their servers and downloaded certain information,” he said.

“Typeform online forms have been used on the TEC website since 2015 for some of its election services. The breach involved an unknown attacker downloading a backup file.

“Typeform’s full investigation of the breach identified that data collected through five forms on the TEC website had been stolen.”


The breach was identified by Typeform on June 27 and shut down within half an hour of detection, Mr Hawkey said.

“The Electoral Commission will be contacting electors that used these services in the coming days to inform them of the breach,” Mr Hawkey said.

“The Electoral Commission apologises for the breach and will re-evaluate its collection procedures and internal security elements around its storage of electoral information for future events. The breach has no connection to the national or state electoral roll.”

Mr Hawkey said some of the stolen information had previously been made public, such as candidate statements for local government by-elections.

Typeform said it had responded immediately and had fixed the source of the breach to prevent further hacks.

“We have since been performing a full forensic investigation of the incident to be certain that this cannot happen again,” a statement on the Typeform website read.

“The results that were accessed are from a partial backup dated May 3, 2018. Results collected since May 3 are therefore safe and not compromised.’

Typeform reportedly provides services for some pretty big names, including Apple, Uber, Airbnb and Forbes.

The hack comes after up to 120,000 Tasmanian job seekers may have had their personal information compromised following a data breach reported by human resources company PageUp in early June.

That site was linked to the Tasmanian Government and the University of Tasmania.
The State Government is still waiting for a further response from PageUp but it is believed the breach was limited to names, addresses, emails and phone numbers.

So what has Facebook Inc been up to lately?


Everything from admitting to further data breaches, to altering images, to supressing legitimate content, to considering payment for access, to shareholder revolt, it seems......

The Herald Sun reported on 9 June 2018 at p.59:

Facebook is ­embroiled in another data privacy scandal, confirming a software bug led to the private posts of 14 million users being made public.

According to Facebook, the bug was active from May 18 to May 27 and changed the privacy settings of some users without telling them.

“Today we started letting the 14 million people affected know — and asking them to review any posts they made during that time,” Facebook chief privacy officer Erin Egan said.

“To be clear, this bug did not impact anything people had posted before, and they could still choose their audience just as they always have.” It was unclear yesterday how many Australian users were affected. Facebook said the bug occ­urred during the development of a new share function that ­allowed users to share featured items on their profile page, such as a photo.

“The problem has been fixed, and for anyone affected, we changed the audience back to what they’d been using before,” Ms Egan said.

Facebook has urged affected customers to review posts made between May 18 and May 27 to see if any private posts had been automatically made public.

The latest issue comes as Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg faces the prospect of a public grilling before the Aus­tralian parliament’s intelligence and security committee.
Facebook admitted this week it had struck data partnerships — where it shares the personal data of people on the social media platform — with at least four Chinese electronics companies, including Huawei Technologies.

Huawei has been barred from a series of major projects in Australia over concerns about its close links to the Chinese government.

Members of the parliamentary intelligence and security committee want Mr Zuckerberg to come to Australia and answer questions about the data-sharing pact.

On 18 June 2018 The Sun reported that Facebook Inc had begun to manipulate images – effectively producing ‘fake images’ that were being passed off a real.

Then on 20 June 2018 Facebook Inc. declared its intention to charge certain private group users for participation on its platforms:

Today, we’re piloting subscriptions with a small number of groups to continue to support group admins who lead these communities.

This world-wide social platform apparently expects that if it formally launches this access fee (reportedly up to $360 a year) then these costs to be passed on as subscription fees – with Facebook  letting administrators charge subscription fees from $4.99 to $29.99 each month to join premium subgroups containing exclusive posts.

Presumably, if the market responds in sufficient numbers then Facebook will change the rules and demand that private groups hand over a percentage of subscription fees collected.

The Guardian, 24 June 2018:

George Orwell wrote in his essay Politics and the English Language: “In our age there is no such thing as ‘keeping out of politics’. All issues are political issues.” 

When Facebook constructed a new archive of political advertising, had it thought a little more about this concept of what is “political”, it might have more accurately anticipated the subsequent Orwellian headache. As it is, journalists are finding their articles restricted from promotion because they are lumped in with campaigning materials from politicians, lobby groups and advocacy organisations.

The new archive of ads with political content, which Facebook made public last month, has become the latest contested piece of territory between platforms and publishers. The complaint from publishers is that Facebook is categorising posts in which they are promoting their own journalism (paying money to target particular groups of the audience) as “political ads”. Publishers have reacted furiously to what they see as toxic taxonomy.

Mark Thompson, the chief executive of the New York Times, has been the most vocal critic, describing Facebook’s practices as “a threat to democracy” and criticising the platform in a recent speech to the Open Markets Initiative in Washington DC. “When it comes to news, Facebook still doesn’t get it,” said Thompson. “In its effort to clear up one bad mess, it seems to be joining those who want to blur the line between reality-based journalism and propaganda.”

At a separate event at Columbia University, Thompson and Facebook’s head of news partnerships, Campbell Brown, fought openly about the initiative. Thompson showed examples of where New York Times articles, including recipes, had been wrongly flagged as political. Brown emphasised that the archive was being refined, but stood firm on the principle that promoted journalism ought to be flagged as “paid-for” political posts. “On this you are just wrong,” she told Thompson.

Publishers took to social platforms to question the labelling and representation of their work. One of the most egregious examples came from investigative journalism organisation Reveal. Last week, at the height of the scandal around the separation of undocumented migrant families crossing the US border, it published an exclusive story involving the alleged drugging of children at a centre housing immigrant minors. It was flagged in the Facebook system as containing political content, and as Reveal had not registered its promotion of the story, the promoted posts were stifled. Facebook did not remove the article, but rather stopped its paid circulation. Given the importance of paid promotion, it is not surprising that publishers see this as amounting to the same thing.

And trust issues can be found both inside and outside Facebook's castle walls.....

Business Insider, 24 June 2018:

A Survata study, seen exclusively by Business Insider, asked US consumers to rate big tech companies from one (most trusted) to five (least trusted). Survata surveyed more than 2,600 people in April and May. It’s the first time Survata has carried out the survey.

The results show that Facebook is nowhere near as trusted as Amazon, PayPal, or Microsoft – but that people do trust it more than Instagram. Instagram, of course, is owned by Facebook.

Here’s the top 15 in order of most to least trusted:
1 .Amazon
2. PayPal
3. Microsoft
4. Apple
5. IBM
6. Yahoo
7. Google
8. YouTube
9. eBay
10. Pandora
11. Facebook
12. LinkedIn
13. Spotify
14. AOL
15. Instagram

Business Insider, 26 June 2018:

Shareholders with nearly $US3 billion invested Facebook are trying to topple Mark Zuckerberg as chairman and tear up the company’s governance structure.

Business Insider has spoken with six prominent shareholders who said there was an unprecedented level of unrest among Facebook’s backers following a series of scandals.

They are in open revolt about Zuckerberg’s power base, which gives him the ability to swat away any shareholder proposal he disagrees with.

 One investor compared him to a robber baron, a derogatory term for 19th-century US tycoons who accumulated enormous wealth.

Facebook says its governance structure is “sound and effective” and splitting Zuckerberg’s duties as chairman and CEO would cause “uncertainty, confusion, and inefficiency.”

Finally, it was reported on 29 June 2018 by IT News that, you guessed it, yet another Facebook sponsored personality test was allowing data to be extracted without the users knowledge or informed consent:

A security researcher has found that a popular personality test app running on Facebook contained an easily exploitable flaw that could be used to expose sensitive information on tens of millions of users.

Belgian security researcher Inti De Ceukelaire joined Facebook's bug bounty program, set up by the giant social network after the Cambridge Analytica data leak scandal and tried out the NameTests.com's personality test app developed by Social Sweethearts.

De Ceukelaire discovered that when he loaded a personality test, NameTests.com fetched his personal data from Facebook and displayed it on a webpage.

He was shocked to see that users' personal data was wrapped in a Javascript file by NameTests.com, which could be accessed via a weblink over the plain text HTTP protocol.

This meant that any website that requested the file could access the personal information retrieved from users' Facebook accounts.

The security researcher tested this by setting up a website that connected to NameTests.com and was able to access Facebook posts, photos and friend lists belonging to visitors.

Information leaked included people's Facebook IDs, first and last names, languages used, gender, date of birth, profile pictures, cover photo, currency, devices used, and much more.

Worse, De Ceukelaire found that NameTests.com doesn't log off users which means the site would continue to leak user data even after the app was deleted.

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Did the Australian Bureau of Statistics spy on Telstra customers at one remove in 2016?


“…with its near-complete coverage of the population, mobile device data is now seen as a feasible way to estimate temporary populations” [Australian Bureau of Statistics Demographer Andrew Howe, quoted in The Australian Bureau of Statistics Tracked People By Their Mobile Device Data at Medium, 23 April 2018]

Cryptoparty founder. Amnesty Australia 'Humanitarian Media Award' recipient 2014 and activist Asher Wolf recently reported that in 2016 the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) without informing or seeking permission from mobile phone users ran a secretive, publicly-funded tracking program via signals emitted by the mobile phones of an unspecified number of people, in order to find out where they travelled over the course of an unspecified number of days and how long they stayed at each location.

A presentation of the basic details of this pilot study was made by the ABS researcher leading the pilot at a Spatial Information Day in Adelaide on 11 August 2017.

second ABS researcher also made a presentation on the day.

Spatial Information Day (which has the ABS as one of its sponsors) is characterised by the organisers as an annual educational and promotional event and was first held just on 18 years ago.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics was swift to reply to Asher Wolf's Medium article, stating that it has only been supplied with hourly agregate data by the telco (Telstra) which did not identify individuals.

However, the aggregated data supplied to the ABS was at the second lowest SA2 Level and some of these statistcal areas have populations of well under 3,000 residents according to 2016 Census data. Which makes the task of matching names to some of the tracked population movements just that much easier for a demographer or determined hacker.

Given recent less than transparent disclosures by data mining corporations concerning data collection/retention practices, readers might forgive me for waiting to see if the other shoe drops in this ABS-Telsta data mining and privacy matter.

One might say that thanks to Ms. Wolf we are all being educated further about big data and the ethics of data collection.

This is the response Ms. Wolf received when she contacted privacy experts concerning the pilot study:

“I find this tracking of people using their telephone location data without their knowledge and consent extremely concerning. The fact that the telecoms company allowed this data to be handed to a third party, and then for that third party to be a government agency compounds the breach of trust for the people whose data was involved,” said Angela Daly, Vice Chancellor’s Senior Research Fellow and Senior Lecturer in Queensland University of Technology’s Faculty of Law, research associate in the Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology and Society and Digital Rights Watch board member.

“After the Cambridge Analytica/Facebook scandal this is yet another example of why we need much tougher restrictions on what companies and the government can do with our data.”

Electronic Frontiers Australia board member Justin Warren also pointed out that while there are beneficial uses for this kind of information, “…the ABS should be treading much more carefully than it is. The ABS damaged its reputation with its bungled management of the 2016 Census, and with its failure to properly consult with civil society about its decision to retain names and addresses. Now we discover that the ABS is running secret tracking experiments on the population?”

“Even if the ABS’ motives are benign, this behaviour — making ethically dubious decisions without consulting the public it is experimenting on — continues to damage the once stellar reputation of the ABS.”

“This kind of population tracking has a dark history. During World War II, the US Census Bureau used this kind of tracking information to round up Japanese-Americans for internment. Census data was used extensively by Nazi Germany to target specific groups of people. The ABS should be acutely aware of these historical abuses, and the current tensions within society that mirror those earlier, dark days all too closely.”

“The ABS must work much harder to ensure that it is conducting itself with the broad support of the Australian populace. Sadly, it appears that the ABS increasingly considers itself above the mundane concerns of those outside its ivory tower. This arrogance must end.”

“For us to continue to trust the ABS with our most intimate details, the ABS must maintain society’s trust. Conducting experiments on citizens without seeming to care about our approval or consent undermines that trust.”

International privacy advocates also raised concerns about the study.

“Data the companies, like telcos, collect inevitably becomes very attractive to government agencies looking to track, monitor, and survey people. Like here, users are rarely informed, let alone consent to these uses. The impact on privacy rights is severe: location information (especially combined with other sensitive data) can reveal startlingly detailed information about your life (where you live, work), connections (who you talk to or visit), preferences (what you buy and when), and health (doctors and pharmacies frequented),” stated Amie Stepanovich, U.S. Policy Manager for digital rights organisation Access Now.


Monday, 23 April 2018

Away from the spotlight of congressional hearings Zuckerberg and Facebook Inc. show their true colours – implementing weaker privacy protection for 1.5 billion users


The Guardian, 19 April 2018:

Facebook has moved more than 1.5 billion users out of reach of European privacy law, despite a promise from Mark Zuckerberg to apply the “spirit” of the legislation globally.

In a tweak to its terms and conditions, Facebook is shifting the responsibility for all users outside the US, Canada and the EU from its international HQ in Ireland to its main offices in California. It means that those users will now be on a site governed by US law rather than Irish law.

The move is due to come into effect shortly before General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force in Europe on 25 May. Facebook is liable under GDPR for fines of up to 4% of its global turnover – around $1.6bn – if it breaks the new data protection rules.

The shift highlights the cautious phrasing Facebook has applied to its promises around GDPR. Earlier this month, when asked whether his company would promise GDPR protections to its users worldwide, Zuckerberg demurred. “We’re still nailing down details on this, but it should directionally be, in spirit, the whole thing,” he said.
A week later, during his hearings in front of the US Congress, Zuckerberg was again asked if he would promise that GDPR’s protections would apply to all Facebook users. His answer was affirmative – but only referred to GDPR “controls”, rather than “protections”. Worldwide, Facebook has rolled out a suite of tools to let users exercise their rights under GDPR, such as downloading and deleting data, and the company’s new consent-gathering controls are similarly universal.

Facebook told Reuters “we apply the same privacy protections everywhere, regardless of whether your agreement is with Facebook Inc or Facebook Ireland”. It said the change was only carried out “because EU law requires specific language” in mandated privacy notices, which US law does not.

In a statement to the Guardian, it added: “We have been clear that we are offering everyone who uses Facebook the same privacy protections, controls and settings, no matter where they live. These updates do not change that.”

Privacy researcher Lukasz Olejnik disagreed, noting that the change carried large ramifications for the affected users. “Moving around one and a half billion users into other jurisdictions is not a simple copy-and-paste exercise,” he said.

“This is a major and unprecedented change in the data privacy landscape. The change will amount to the reduction of privacy guarantees and the rights of users, with a number of ramifications, notably for consent requirements. Users will clearly lose some existing rights, as US standards are lower than those in Europe.

“Data protection authorities from the countries of the affected users, such as New Zealand and Australia, may want to reassess this situation and analyse the situation. 

Even if their data privacy regulators are less rapid than those in Europe, this event is giving them a chance to act. Although it is unclear how active they will choose to be, the global privacy regulation landscape is changing, with countries in the world refining their approach. Europe is clearly on the forefront of this competition, but we should expect other countries to eventually catch up.” [my yellow highlighting]

NOTE:

The Australian Dept. of Human Services still continues to invite those who use its welfare services to visit its five Facebook pages on which it will:


* post about payments and services 

* answer questions 
* give useful tips 
* share news, and 
* give updates on relevant issue

All associated data (including questions and answers) will of course be captured by Facebook, then collated, transferred, stored overseas, monetised and possibly 'weaponised' during the next election campaign cycle which occurs in the area visitors to these pages live.


Tuesday, 10 April 2018

So many Newspoll losses mean democratic processes at risk as Turnbull Government strives to claw back political ground


“The Coalition now trails Labor by 47.5 per cent to 52.5 per cent in two-party terms across the four polls. This reflects a 48:52 result from Fairfax/Ipsos, the same from Newspoll, the same from Essential and a 46:54 result from ReachTel on March 29.” [The Sydney Morning Herald, 9 April 2016]

From May 2014 to September 2015 the Abbott Coalition Government experienced 30 consecutive negative Newspoll federal voting intentions opinion polls*.

After the sacking of Tony Abbott by his party and the installation of Malcolm Turnbull as prime minister the Turnbull Coalition Government saw 12 positive Newspolls before this second rendition of a Coalition federal government itself experienced 30 consecutive negative Newspolls from 12 September 2016 to 9 April 2018.

This polling history indicates that the Liberal-National federal government is likely to have only had the national electorate’s approval for around ten of the last thirty-seven calendar months.

According to the Australian Electoral Commission; As House of Representatives and half-Senate elections are usually held simultaneously, the earliest date for such an election would be Saturday 4 August 2018. As the latest possible date for a half-Senate election is Saturday 18 May 2019, the latest possible date for a simultaneous (half-Senate and House of Representatives) election is also Saturday 18 May 2019.

Given that (i) between them the Abbott and Turnbull governments have experienced  experienced only 12 positive polls in the last 68 Newspolls; and (ii) the Liberal Party has already admitted that during its successful March 2018 South Australian election it had utilised the services of one of the known “bad actors” on  the international election campaign consultancy scene, the US-based data miner i360; it is highly likely that “bad actors” will be employed once more and over the next four to thirteen months voters will be subjected to a barrage of misinformation, bald lies, vicious rumour and false promises from both Coalition politicians and their supporters in mainstream and social media.

Voters will have to fact check what they hear and read as never before.

* A federal voting intentions Newspoll is considered negative for one or other of the two main political parties based on two party preferred percentage results
Newspolls surveys normally occur every two to three weeks outside of election campaign periods when they are likely to occur more often.
Newspoll results can be found at https://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/newspoll.